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Mar 14, 2010 01:15 PM

Brunch in Murray Hill

I am hoping to get some suggestions on great brunches in Murray Hill. I realize that great food and Murray Hill can be a bit of an oxymoron but my recent discovery of Chez Le Chef has given me hope that there may be other hidden gems both new and old in the area. I will start with the places I already know

Chez Le Chef - great brunch, french breads and pastries baked on premises by old school french chef. Rare gem.

Penelope's - the goto brunch place in Murray Hill. Nice, cozy atmosphere, decent food, long waits. The only place in the area that evokes the EV, LES, Brooklyn brunch vibe.

La Petite Albeile (not really Murray Hill but we need all the help we can get) - 1 of small chain in the city doing Belgian food, nice brunch, no wait, lots of space - hamburger is excellent, waffles pretty good and some decent egg dishes

Inoteca ( the one on 3rd ave and 24th, also not really Murray Hill but same as above)- same pros and cons as the one in the LES, nice Italian style brunch

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    1. re: sugartoof

      Thanks. I have been meaning to hit Resto (everyone raves about the burger but I hadn't heard about brunch yet) and will check out Maialino.

      1. re: cocoman

        personally, I think the burger is one of the worst things on the menu at Resto. A small dense salty overcooked puck served on stale white bread. Their brunch pasta on the other hand is good.

        1. re: ESNY

          Agree the Resto burger isn't that good but the hangover pasta and croque are amazing.

          I also like PS 450 for a more laid back brunch. If your a sports fan this is a good place to go and catch a game and enjoy some pretty good food at a great price.

            1. re: feynmix

              I think Artisanal has a great brunch. It can be very crowded/noisy though.

              1. re: ellenost

                I wouldn't put Artisana brunch anywhere near "great" category. It;s just OK but not great, imo.

                I'd love to check out Maialino for brunch, though.

                1. re: RCC

                  For the neighborhood (I lived there for 15 years) Artisanal is a great brunch (IMHO).

                  1. re: RCC

                    Brunch at Maialino is a very enjoyable experience.

                    Photos of our brunch here:

              2. re: roze

                PS 450 is open? I remember going to look for it a year ago or so and thought it closed. Will have to go back. Thanks.

        2. For a different type of brunch, I highly recommend Saravannas for brunch - the spicy sambar, idlis and dosas are a typical South Indian brunch. This is my favourite Murray Hill brunch spot.

          1. I like the Sunday brunch at Turkish Kitchen 3rd ave between 27th and 28th

            1 Reply
            1. re: urafoodoosh

              Turkish Kitchen is a favorite of ours, but we've never done the brunch because I detest buffets.

              Photos of a recent light lunch at Turkish Kitchen:

            2. My favorite brunch in the neighborhood is Les Halles. The prices are a bit steep, but the meal comes with fresh squeezed orange juice and a fantastic croissant. I'll also take Les Halles french fries (served with the meal as well) over just about any other breakfast potato I can think of. There usually isn't a wait for a table either.

              1. Resto has an amazing liege waffle.

                Dang, the area really needs some better brunch spots. I keep escaping to Chinatown or LES. Am trying Maialino brunch today, will report back.

                111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016

                2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                7 Replies
                1. re: windycity

                  I agree, and it seems like such a brunch kind of neighborhood. The way people will line up for Penelope's mediocre food is proof.

                  Inoteca is another brunch option in the area, that I'm not sure if anyone mentioned.

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    It is personal preference - I think Inoteca is way overrated - the 2 paninis I had were so bad and overly salty that I will never return. I also wasn't overly impressed with ino. But Penelope has some good items on the menu esp their avocado papaya fried calamari salad (sadly only in the summer). Not god enough to stand in 2 hour lines for though.

                    Someone could probably make a decent investment by opening up a good brunch place in the high 20s.

                    Went to Maialino today - restaurant didn't get entirely full and we left around 1pm (got there at 10:30.) It really was delicious and I was concerned about not having enough food but we had ordered the breads of the day so that helped fill us up. I had the croquette, which I strangely didn't like as much as I thought I would, but the Cacio e Pepe was really good.

                    Comparing it to the $80 for 2 people (w/o alcohol) at Locanda Verde, we spent about $100 for 4 people today, which was a much better deal. Though I think that the baked goods are really much better at Locanda Verde, the next time I go to Maialino, instead of getting the bread plate (chocolate croissant was kind of stiff - maybe not enough butter or slightly stale??? though I can hardly imagine that at a Danny Meyer restaurant, and the tortello was not that good) I would get an olive oil muffin for everyone. I really want to try the toffee glazed brioche and the guanciale roll.

                    I will say that they gave us 2 lunch and 2 brunch menus which was very confusing for our table and I had to bring it to their attention after which they promptly switched out for 4 brunch menus which was a shame because I think that the lunch menu had more interesting items. The service is not quite as smooth as at other Meyer restaurants so I think they are still working out the kinks.

                    Locanda Verde
                    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                    1. re: windycity

                      The only sandwich we've tried at 'inoteca Gramercy is the Wagyu beef bollito (on the panini list though it's not a panini), which was excellent. Everything else we've had there has been delicious as well.

                      'inoteca photos:

                      If you're looking for a delicious brunch in the high 20's, there's Bar Breton, on 5th, b/t 28th & 29th.

                      Bar Breton photos:


                      La Quenelle
                      254 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10020

                      323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

                      1. re: windycity

                        Hey Judy Chicago,

                        Just reading the boards these past few days, I chose to have brunch at Maialino today, too. You must have passed before me as I sat at a table by the front door, but I guess your nametag was covered by your coat, so I didn't wave. (I was a single, seated at a four-top, so the management kinks have definitely to be worked out.)

                        I'm of mixed mind about the place. There's this slightly peculiar deal whereby one can only consume bread & coffee at the bar; I prefer that perch (categorically) when I'm eating brunch alone. The room itself -all of it, I mean- is beautiful: blossoming cherry trees in the park peeking over the curtains. The waitress mistakenly described the dish I ordered (lentils, raddichio, poached egg & a pork sausage) as coming in a "tureen" -making it sound like a cassoulet- when in fact it was a dish with discrete elements appearing in a shallow bowl.

                        Ok, nothing serious, but the salt. My god, the salt. I'm no big B'berg fan, but I'd die (honestly, die) a happy man if NY chefs - and certainly the cooks here- just restrained themselves by half when they put the salt shaker over their dishes.

                        (It didn't help, on a related note, that a woman with a child apparently under six-months old was being bottle-fed at the table next to me. That was upsetting.)

                        1. re: Phil Ogelos

                          I can't help but ask why it would bother you that a child was eating next to you?

                          WindyCity~ Price aside, which meal did you enjoy more between LV and Maialino? I would like to try one, but probably don't have the time for both on our trip. Thanks!

                          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                          1. re: KateMW

                            Bottle-feeding a child younger than six months: that's what bothered me -the child being nourished in that way, which is what I wrote originally.

                            I didn't say anything at all to the woman -I'm not that self-important, and I know some can't breastfeed their children- but it struck me because the principle -exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life- is a central part of my profession. That's all I meant to convey.

                            EDIT: but contents of the bottle could have been expressed aforehand, in which case I'm wrong in my critique.

                            1. re: KateMW

                              Well, I have a definite sweet tooth, so Locanda Verde. The ricotta pancakes were really great and their breads of the day were all stellar whereas I wasn't as wowed by the Maialino breads of the day (though the olive oil budino is a standout.) It's not really fair though since I didn't order the ricotta pancakes at Maialino.

                              The one thing that didn't really wow me at LV was the lemon tart. And I have to add that I didn't really like the "scene" at LV whereas I could see going to Maialino as more of a weekly event.

                              Locanda Verde
                              377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010